I am thankful for Music, because it brings people together and changes lives, and I am seeing that with my very own eyes.
I had a wonderful first Thanksgiving experience, in Venezuela! The fellows invited some new friends to share the evening with us and there were musicians from Venezuela and Colombia in addition to the five continents that we fellows are from at the dinner table tonight. Some of us didn’t even speak the same language but there was a real connection because of our shared love for music and our belief in the power of music. In the past two and a half weeks here, I have experienced exactly that. Music breaks down all kinds of barriers. The fifteen of us at the dinner table would never have known each other if not for music. But here we were, having dinner in Mérida, thousands of miles away from Singapore, singing, eating, drinking and sharing what we are thankful for, with tears of gratitude and joy.
My perceptions of music and of life have been altered permanently since coming to Venezuela. It will be difficult to forget the performance of the White Hands Choir, which is made up of kids who are deaf, blind, and those with special needs, both intellectually and physically. The children who are deaf sign to the lyrics of songs sung by kids who are not. It was so beautiful. While I was watching them, I wondered how this was significant to so many people. To the blind child, this could well give him a sense of liberation and normalcy. The normal kid learns how to interact with special needs children and feel comfortable with everyone being different. To the parents of the special needs child, the choir could be a great support system for them and it gives their child the opportunity to learn to become independent and to be fully integrated into society. Watching them sing so beautifully and sign with such grace and musicality, I turned to Aubree and asked “is this what heaven is like?” Music provides an alternate reality that is intangible, infinite, and full of possibilities.
Sistema Fellow '14